ECOSPECTIVE: ‘Grandpa, what did you do about the climate crisis?’


Daniel O’Neail
Here we are in 2008, plunging into our uncertain future for another year, some of us with apprehension, others with a feeling of relief. Some optimistic, others with regrets of things left undone this past year.

What matters now are our goals and intentions over the next year and beyond, our resolutions to improve ourselves, our community, and world.

I don’t think there are many people whose New Year’s resolutions will be, “well I did enough last year, this year I resolve to slack off.”
,br> We all want to make improvements, it’s built into our genetic code, and the reason we are such a successful species.

So let’s take a moment to look over last year, and then I will humbly suggest some resolutions for 2008.

In 2007 we saw the largest melt of Arctic ice ever recorded. We listened to our Prime Minister refuse to work with the rest of the world on climate change in Bali, and Canada had its first F5 tornado in Manitoba.

We saw our Ontario farms come within a hair of crop failure due to a lack of rain. We saw the Great Lakes begin to shrink and retreat from the shoreline. We had a provincial election in which faith-based school funding seemed to be the only topic reported in the news.

In London we saw local residents rise up in protest over attempts at development along two sections of the Thames River. We saw the earth open up and swallow a section of a downtown street, and we were alerted to the fact that many of our homes and schools had lead contamination in our water.

We also saw a City Council that, as a whole, began to take environmental concerns more seriously. We saw a green roof installed on City Hall, the construction of the Sisters of St. Francis environmentally responsible building and the formation of LEN (London Environmental Network), to enhance the local environmental movement.

I think we can do more, so here are some New Year’s resolutions you may want to add if they are not already on your list:

I will take part in at least one community cleanup event this year.
I will plant at least one tree this year.
I will make a donation to at least one environmental group this year.
I will volunteer for at least one community event this year.
If an election is called I will exercise my rights in a democratic society.
I will make an effort to find out the issues.
I will make the effort to know what the candidates are offering.
I will attend one political debate to know what’s going on and to ask questions.
I WILL VOTE, and not leave my future in the hands of others.

We all have the opportunity and ability to make positive changes in our community, be it the neighborhood, the city, the province or the world. It just takes a little effort on our part to get involved.

We know that climate change is happening, we know that it will affect the lives of our children and grandchildren. So I keep this one thought in mind.

At some time in the future I will have grandchildren who will ask me, “Grandpa, what did you do during the climate crises?” I would not want to be the person who would have to look them in the eye and say…”Nothing.”

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